Genoa – He has tattooed the five circles on the skin. He tattooed them on his heart. They are the trademark of Federica Pellegrini. The “Divine” for many. The most successful sportswoman in Italian swimming and also in Italian sport. An athlete with a capital A. Because beyond the innate technical and aquatic skills, the National faith is one that, since she was 14, does not skip a workout. First to enter the water, last to go out. Predestined yes, but its results are the result of work, a lot of work. Of defeats, many defeats. You handle it so well that only the victories are remembered of her.
An endless list. Today, on the threshold of 33 years, Federica Pellegrini wants to add another record to her history as an athlete which is made up of records. The last one before starting her story only as a woman to whom she simply asks for serenity. If the Venetian this night (3.30 Italian time live Rai 2 and Discovery Plus) entered the final in her 200 freestyle, she would be the first woman in the world to have hit 5 Olympic finals in the same specialty over 20 years. 21 to be exact, because the covid, of which she was also a victim, forced her to extend a career that saw her silver, sixteen in Athens 2004 by a year. memory. He doesn’t want to overdo it because he knows he has too few hours to recover. But swimming under the rhythm is almost more tiring than swimming beyond one’s means. It passes slowly, fails to push in turns, it is imperfect. She who makes perfection the primary quality.
Closes the penultimate heat in 1’57 “33. Mediocre time. The qualification to the semifinals is hanging by a thread. It is no longer she who can decide. They are the 8 protagonists of the last battery who have to go slower than her. And Fede does not like to leave his own destiny in the hands of others. This time, however, it is so. You eat the mask, look at the board. It’s inside! Fifteenth, but inside. And tonight will be another story. The story of Faith, of the Phoenix. He has every chance to get into the top 8. He worked hard to get it. He will have to look for all the mental energies he has, because swimming can do whatever he wants. It has been in the breach for 21 years.
This postponed Olympics certainly did not facilitate it. But she has already won by putting herself on the line. And if the miracle does not come. If the final does not arrive because the head is already elsewhere, it will be fine too. She will always be the greatest Italian swimmer of all time. She who has only won one Olympic gold, in Beijing 2008, has always faced the five-circle races with a lot, too much tension. Now maybe that’s the one that has dropped a bit “For the first time I arrived at the Games serena. It is great to be here, even if there is no audience. It is wonderful that in this race there are all the champions of the last three Olympics. Me, Schmitt gold in London and Ledecky, first in Rio. Each with its own story. Each with its own wealth of experiences. That to the final will be a very tough climb, but I try. I have prepared myself well. The debut was not brilliant, but it goes step by step. “
It will be a night to live in one breath for Italians. At 3.30 Federica. At 3.59 the final of the 100 backstroke with Thomas Ceccon in contention for a medal and at 4.17 the final that all Genoese await, that of the 100 frog with Martina Carraro. Meanwhile, another Italian champion hits the final. AND’ Simona Quadarella who with 15’47 ”34 manages the battery of 1500 and makes an appointment for the final scheduled for the night between Tuesday and Wednesday.
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